Well, that was an episode of Survivor.
End of blog.
I kid, I kid. But it's obviously a liiiiitle bit tricky for me to try recapping that very race-heavy episode when I am a 25-year-old (turn 26 tomorrow for anyone wondering when my birthday is) who looks how I look. But I will try my best because it was definitely a very eventful episode.
You can also watch me, Nate, and Jake try to awkwardly recap that episode. Alternate title: "Three White Guys Try To Solve Racism"
This was this meme brought to life.
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Now onto the written recap….
-The episode started off after the Chanelle tribal council. Romeo was very mad he got votes but put on a fake happy face at camp and said there are no hard feelings, despite actually wanting to kick them in the face. This is always the smart move. You can be mad but don't let it show and paint an even bigger target on your back. Romeo handled it well.
-Someone who did not handle things well was Hai. He got one vote at the previous tribal council (from Romeo) and freaked out about it. He demanded to know who did it and was interrogating people, getting really mad at Romeo. This was really poor gameplay from Hai. The worst he's had this season. Doesn't make sense to be so mad over one single vote and paints him as a bit of a control freak. Romeo admitted in a confessional that he only voted Hai so he would react in this exact manner and be exposed. And it's safe to say that plan worked very well. Very impressive stuff from Romeo. Not so much from Hai.
-The Dudes Rock alliance began to form. Rocksroy looked around and thought, "Wait. 6 guys. 4 girls. Why aren't we just voting all the girls out?" A strategic mastermind. He proposed that him, Mike, Jonathan, Hai, and Omar were the core alliance and used Romeo to get the girls out. While Mike and Jonathan appeared to be good with it (or at least pretended to be), Hai and Omar made it clear they didn't want to be part of some macho man alliance.
-Rocksroy also gave us the great quote, "Plant the seed, grow the tree, bear the fruit." A true philosopher of our time.
-This was a classic Survivor challenge where they balance on the triangles in the water. But there was a twist. They would be split up into two tribes of five. Someone from each tribe would win immunity. Both tribes would separately go to tribal council. And the overall person who lasted the longest would win beef and veggie kabobs for their tribe.
-Maryanne, Drea, Jonathan, Lindsay, and Tori were on one tribe. Omar, Romeo, Mike, Jonathan, and Rocksroy were the other. It might've been the quickest challenge in Survivor history. 4 people fell off in like a minute. Hai won it for his tribe pretty easily. It came down to Jonathan and Lindsay on their side and Jonathan outlasted her to get his first individual immunity challenge win. Add balancing on a narrow beam in a hurricane to the long list of Jonathan talents.
First Tribal Council
-The all guys alliance immediately was put to the test since there were 5 guys on this tribe. But Romeo was on the outs from the rest and Hai wanted revenge against him, so it seemed like Romeo was the target. He even said himself he was sure he was going home.
-But Omar did not want to go along with the macho man alliance. He told Romeo that he could convince Hai to vote with them, even though Hai and Romeo were enemies. Hai was down with the plan but only if it had Mike's approval. Hai couldn't lose Mike's trust, his only remaining tribe member from pre-merge left. This was smart by Hai. Not clueing Mike in and leaving him blindsided too would've lost Hai yet another ally, made him look like a bigger snake, and put a bigger target on his back.
-While Mike prides himself on being honest and loyal, that didn't really last here. He gave Rocksroy his word earlier in the episode but had no problem flipping on him to vote him out. And that's a good thing. Survivor shouldn't be played with honor and integrity. Hopefully Mike realizes that and is more cutthroat going forward. If he keeps talking about how his word is his bond, he's just going to look like a hypocrite.
-Rocksroy ended up going home in a 4-1 vote in a pretty uneventful tribal council. I really think this was the wrong move for Hai/Omar/Mike. Rocksroy was not a threat. The all-guys alliance was not a real threat. It could've easily been taken apart in a few votes. Mike and Jonathan likely weren't that loyal to Rocksroy. Let Rocksroy think he has some power for a few votes and drag him along for a bit longer. Romeo is a social and strategic threat. He's way more likely to lead a coup against Hai/Omar and blindside them than Rocksroy is. I think this move could bite Hai and Omar in the ass.
-Farewell to the legend Rocksroy. What a character. He was a true throwback to early season Survivor contestants. He was just there to chop wood, make fires, and help around camp. He thought it was truly just a survival show. Wasn't much for strategy until he had the genius idea to just have all the guys vote together. He didn't think guys were capable of strategy. At tribal he was saying "Guys are more rigid when making a decision." He clearly wasn't a fit for new school Survivor, but that's okay. Sometimes you need characters like him. I'll miss Rocksroy.
Second Tribal Council
-Over here we had Maryanne, Jonathan, Tori, Drea, and Lindsay. The easy plan would've been to just vote Tori out. But Jonathan wanted to make a bigger move against Drea since she had the idol. He felt protected by having immunity, which is always a smart move. I'd much rather make a big move when there's no risk of it backfiring against me and getting voted out. Tony was great at this.
-His problem was telling Maryanne that she was the decoy plan to Drea. Because then Maryanne was worried the people with idols were getting targeted and that if Drea played hers, Maryanne would be going home. And when Lindsay pointed this out to Jonathan, you see his brain break in real time. He either hadn't thought of that or he just didn't care if Maryanne went home. He was pretty dismissive to Lindsay in this conversation as well. I've been impressed with Jonathan's social and strategic game so far this season, better than a typical "challenge beast" type player, but this was a major blemish against him and didn't make him look good.
-It seemed like going into tribal council, Drea was the target. But everything changed at tribal. They couldn't watch the first tribal council, so when Drea saw that Rocksroy was voted out, she was stunned and visibly shook about it. She said it was hard to see two black contestants voted out back to back and feared that it's a pattern in Survivor for that to happen. Maryanne agreed with her. Here are some of the exact quotes so I'm not misrepresenting anything.
Drea: "I was so proud because we have four Black contestants in Survivor. And then it always happens where at one point the Black contestants get booted out — Boom! Boom! Boom! — and then that's exactly what this is right now. So yeah, I'm pissed."
Jeff: "So do you think it's race related?"
Drea: "Subconsciously, a little bit of that unfortunately. And I'm not going to let that happen to another one of us — point blank. It's a reset for me. This was a game changer."
Maryanne: "I can't write Drea's name down. I literally cannot. I walked into Tribal, I saw two Black people, I cannot write her name down. I am so sorry. I literally can't. Morally, I cannot write her name down."
Jonathan: "I don't feel this is right, because you're coming at this like we're racists."
Drea: "Don't make it seem like I am being aggressive."
Jonathan: "You are being aggressive."
-Drea and Maryanne both played their idols so that they couldn't be accused of only being kept in the game because they played the race card. And Jeff decided a vote wasn't necessary and kept it to a group discussion. Only Tori and Lindsay could be voted out. Everyone said they were voting for Tori so she played her Shot In The Dark, which was the right move obviously. One last chance at staying alive. I thought Lindsay should've played hers too. Would've had the chance to protect herself in case Tori got the safe scroll. And we learned last week there are now 2 safe scrolls among 12. But Lindsay didn't and Tori wasn't safe anyway so it didn't matter.
-A lot to unpack here. When I saw this tribal council was going to be so long, I was hoping it would be because of a wild vote with some crazy advantages being played, but that certainly didn't end up being the case. Here are some of my thoughts, articulated as best as I can.
-I can't pretend to put myself in Drea and Maryanne's shoes, so I have no idea how they felt in that situation seeing two black people on the jury. It's understandable they could feel some type of way about it. After all, Survivor is the greatest social experiment in the world. It's supposed to be a microcosm of society. And racism is obviously a part of society. So it's not crazy that race discussions happen more on the show, especially when more minorities are actively being cast. Drea and Maryanne are totally in the right to express however they feel.
-I also think it's fair to say that Chanelle and Rocksroy getting voted out had nothing to do with race. Chanelle was viewed as a threat and on the outside of the alliance. Drea herself voted for Chanelle last week. And Rocksroy was voted out because he tried to start an all-men alliance, which Drea and Maryanne probably wouldn't have been thrilled to hear about. I truly don't think race was a factor, especially when you consider that most of the cast left is made up of minorities.
-Jonathan totally had the right to speak up and be like, "Uh wait a minute now. I don't want to be labeled as a racist for playing Survivor." Jonathan was targeting Drea strictly because she was a threat in the game and had an idol. The last thing you want in today's day and age is to get labeled racist on national TV, so I totally get Jonathan speaking up and saying it's not a race thing. His problem was calling Drea "aggressive" for just stating how she felt. That was a tough moment. But I have no problem with Jonathan speaking up to begin with. Society is actively cancelling people left and right, so you can't knock someone for having that fear and wanting to put a stop to it.
-I don't think it's right for people to say that the only reason Drea and Maryanne didn't get voted out is because they're black and "played the race card." The reason they didn't get voted out is because they played their hidden immunity idols. It was literally impossible to vote for them. I think the situation would've gotten a lot trickier if they had that emotional discussion and then didn't play their idols. Then Jonathan, Lindsay, and Tori would've been in a really tough spot where they don't want to risk voting for Drea or Maryanne and getting labeled racist. That would've been completely unfair and messed with the integrity of the game. So credit to Drea and Maryanne for realizing that in the moment and playing their idols. It was also a good move by Jonathan to make sure the idols were officially played. He wanted to get one idol out and ended up flushing both, so things really worked out for him in that sense.
-Just a brutal spot for Tori. I can't how imagine how she felt in that moment where you don't want to say anything that could get yourself in trouble, but you also want to fight for your life in the game. But it's not like she was some power player who got screwed here. She's consistently been on the bottom and there's a chance she was going to get sent home last night anyway.
-It'll be really interesting to see how they describe that tribal to Hai, Omar, Romeo, and Mike who didn't witness it. It'll be tough to put into words what happened. And I hope going forward nobody feels hesitant to target Drea or Maryanne. At the end of the day, it's a game for a million dollars and people should do whatever they feel gives them the best chance of winning the game.
-A lot of people are going to complain that Survivor has gone too woke and PC. But I don't think this had anything to do with Jeff or the producers. I think they've definitely gone that route these past two seasons in terms of some of the editing with the packages they've shown for people and all that, but this was just Drea speaking up in the moment about how she felt. It's not like she was prodded by the producers or anything to do so. But it's clear that a LOT of Survivor fans did not like last night's episode if you scroll through Twitter, Instagram, Facebook itself. And I agree Survivor is way better when it's about the game and know that a lot of people use a show like this as an "escape from reality" but it's worth nothing that Survivor is quite literally a REALITY show, so it's not crazy that serious discussions like this happen sometimes.
-As for the game itself, does a now idol-less Drea use her Knowledge Is Power Advantage to take Mike's idol? Do more idols get put back into the game? Is the main alliance still together? There is still a lot of factors at play here which should make for an exciting end of season.
This is a ranking of the players I think are most likely to WIN. This is not necessarily who I think is safest in the game. Don’t look at the person ranked last as the person most likely to go home next. Look at them as the person with the least chance to win. That person could very easily get dragged to FTC as a goat, but won’t win. This is ranking people based on their chance to actually win the game.